The Trinket Box

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The Trinket Box

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...A stunning piece of horror writing. When I finished it I went for a two hour walk. Then I recommended it to the rest of the group...

The book starts with Milton Brooks, widower, pensioner and facing one of the worst diagnosis a person can receive: Altzheimers. He progresses through shock and denial to trying to cope, to somehow fight it with routine and notes, but as the disease progresses he finds reality slipping further away from him. His only anchor is an old cigar box of trinkets that he found after his wife’s passing. Then he begins to find notes that he didn’t write.

The story starts by tearing your heart out and stamping on it. Milton’s attempts to fight Altzheimers, to keep some degree of sanity, are sympathy-evoking and heart-wrenching. The story, like the disease, is merciless. Towards the second half when the supernatural and odd events began to occur, it was almost a relief from the sheer horror.

The problem with the book is that the second half is weaker. The horror of fantasy and the great unknown runs into the horror of real life fact, and the supernatural completely pales. All the ghost can do is kill you, while Altzheimers’ takes mind and soul piece by piece while you are aware of it. The horror of ghosts is “What if this happened to you?” Altzheimers’ is “This will happen to you, or someone you love.”

There is another interpretation of the story possible, which to my mind makes it worse: that there is no supernatural and Milton is simply succumbing to the disease as it steals reality away. No matter your interpretation, this is a thought-provoking piece of writing, blending real-world horror with that outside it to produce something that is an absolute page turner. Good luck putting it down.

The writing is excellent, and tear-jerking. The moment he finds his wife’s photograph with the sticky note reminding him that she has died was also a moment when I took a break from reading. When I finished it I went for a two hour walk. Then I recommended it to the rest of the group. I’m giving it a four because of the ending, but it is still a stunning piece of horror writing.

Rating: 4
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Discussion

rz3300 (12 September 2016)
Well reading that little review is really enough to lock me in. Anytime I can find a horror story that is described as "stunning" I am usually okay, and to hear about the need for a long walk afterwards just validates that even more. Thanks for the recommendation, and this is going on the list.

rz3300 (17 September 2016)
This reminds me of a children's story that I am having trouble coming up with the name for. It is about a boy who brings back this old woman's memories with a little box like this, and it really sounds very similar, so I am excited to see if this can live up to that for me. Should be an interesting read.

skye (2 October 2016)
This is not a children's book, so please don't read it to them before reading it first. It is a horror story about dementia and a tear-jerking one at that.

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